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Changed protocols: Inside Ruto’s unplanned visit to Homa Bay

By George Odiwuor February 28th, 2024 2 min read

President William Ruto had no plans to visit Homa Bay County on Tuesday.

But he later changed his mind and travelled to the county following calls from Governor Gladys Wanga.

The Head of State said he had a busy schedule during the day and should not have been in the lakeside county.

But after calls from Governor Wanga, he decided to travel to Homa Bay, where he spent less than two hours before leaving.

“When she realised I was not coming, she started calling everyone around me,” the president said.

Also read: Overcoming adversity: How Governor Gladys Wanga overcame life challenges

He continued, “It is very difficult to resist Wanga. I had nowhere to hide”.

Ms Wanga revealed that the President had to be in Homa Bay for an hour.

Dr Ruto was attending the county’s second International Investment Conference at Tom Mboya University.

The day before, the President was in Uganda where he met his counterpart Yoweri Museveni and Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga.

Upon his return to the country, the Head of State was scheduled to undertake a number of activities.

However, a visit to Homa Bay was not part of his plans.

Nevertheless, he travelled to the county, but on the condition that he took the shortest possible time.

His busy schedule meant that some leaders, including Siaya Governor James Orengo, did not get a chance to speak before the president at the conference.

Also read: Beware! Conmen using fake Facebook accounts of Governor Gladys Wanga

From the looks of things, the visit was a last-minute affair. Dr Ruto’s arrival at Tom Mboya University was unusual.

He was driven in a white Toyota Prado with a standard number plate. This was after landing at Kabunde airstrip where he was received by Governor Wanga.

The President normally uses a vehicle with the coat of arms in the space provided for the number plate.

His security detail, including the usual General Service Unit, was also absent from the university.

Instead, security was provided by the regular police.

During his speech, he used a microphone normally reserved for Ms Wanga.

“I am sorry to be here for such a short time. But I will be back,” said the President.

This was President Ruto’s fifth visit to the county.

He said he would return to Homa Bay to launch a number of development projects.

Also read: How Gladys Wanga has rejected flashy Governor perks opting for a simple life

The President said Homa Bay County is a classic example of how proactive and effective leadership can transcend the politics of the day to create and expand economic opportunities for the people.

He said under Governor Wanga, Homa Bay has emerged as an attractive investment destination with diverse value chains – from tourism and hospitality, the blue economy, housing to ICT – that can transform the county’s fortunes,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

He added that the national government is committed to moving forward and intensifying its support to the devolved units so that they can make the most of the huge investment opportunities they are endowed with.

“I will be back next year for the Mashujaa Day celebrations,” said President Ruto.

As soon as Dr Ruto left Homa Bay at Kabunde airstrip, Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga arrived using a chartered flight and was received by Ms Wanga.